Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cupcakes for Christmas!

I hope you had a nice christmas. I called my family in Palmerston North, and had lunch with Gina and her family. It was really nice. In the late afternoon, I went pasting with some friends. It was still light and I wanted to give the city a present. The City Council has erected a number of very helpful information signs and maps about the city centre. Quite fortuitously, I found that a cupcake pasting I'd made perfectly covered the council logo at the bottom of these signs. I made up a new 'batch', and went about giving all the signs we could find a fun addition.

I think the council do a generally good job, though cupcakes make for a nicer logo. Christchurch City Council = CCC = City of CupCakes.
Thanks to Jasper for the photos

Monday, December 27, 2010


I work in customer service, as a 'Cinema Attendant' at Rialto. It's a cool job, and I like dealing with people. I often get annoyed when treated like some kind of automaton, and it's surprising when people don't even respond to something personal, something more than 'here's your ticket', because it seems outside the realm of a typical exchange. So of course it's great when customers are personable, and treat you like a person. Customer conversations can lead to respective favourite movies, and much else. It doesn't have to be much, or too deep, but we are all people.
Tonight at work, a man said he was enjoying the music. It was Belle & Sebastian, and one of the big perks is being able to select the music played. He complimented my taste, and said that he always tries to tell people when he enjoys something, which is about a good as rule to live by as any.

Friday, December 24, 2010

In the city

I really enjoy spending time in the central city, as you probably could've guessed from a number of my posts. It feels like there's always the possibility for discovery: you can see people living their lives, evidence of their previous actions, or completely serendipitous moments. The thing that continually surprises me is that everything, everything, is the result of human action. All the buildings, every sign, each piece of graffiti - all were done by a person, at some definite point in recent history. Adbusters often talk about the disconnect with the natural world, which is certainly a problem, but being able to connect with people, directly or implicitly, in an urban setting, is something I will never want to stop.
To that end, about a month ago, Simon and I were exploring a carpark, when we found a basketball hoop on an adjoining rooftop. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we settled on Christmas Eve as the date for court action. Today, he and I and six other friends squeezed through a gap in the fence, and shot some hoops on a lovely day, in a place that just seemed perfect.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 10 Gigs, Songs and Albums of 2010

Like last year, I put together a list of my favourite gigs, songs and albums from 2010. No surprises to see Seth Frightening at #1...

Gigs of the year
*Honourable Mention – Jordan O’Jordan @ GBM
10 – The Ruby Suns @ Campus A Low Hum
9 – The xx @ Laneway Auckland
8 – Ponytail @ San Fran Bathhouse, Wellington
7 – Kidz in Space @ The Bedford
6 – Grayson Gilmour @ The Dux
5 – Parking Lot Experiments @ Campus A Low Hum
4 – HEALTH @ UC Orientation
3 – Rufus Wainwright @ James Hay Theatre
2 – Jeffrey Lewis @ The Log Cabin
1 – Dudley Benson @ Gaiety Hall, Akaroa

Songs of the Year
*Honourable Mentions – Panda Bear – Slow Motion, Wet Wings – Running Like a Man
10 – Holy Fuck – Red Lights
9 – The Mint Chicks – Say Goodbye
8 – of Montreal – Coquet Coquette
7 – So So Modern – Dusk and Children
6 – DOM – Rude As Jude
5 – Nas & Damien Marley – As We Enter
4 – Caribou – Odessa
3 – Cults – Most Wanted
2 – Disasteradio – Gravy Rainbow
1 – Atlas Sound – Doctor

Albums of the Year
*Honourable Mention – Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love
10 – Jon Lemmon – Kindling EP
9 – Disasteradio – Charisma
8 – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
7 – Dudley Benson – Forest: The Songs of Hirini Melbourne
6 – Grayson Gilmour – No Constellation
5 – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
4 – Beach House – Teen Dream
3 – Los Campesinos! – Romance is Boring
2 – Owen Pallett – Heartland
1 – Seth Frightening – The Prince and His Madness

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How to paste

As you may have gathered, I really enjoy wheatpasting pictures around town. It's so much fun to be up town at night, with a friend or solo, and doing something that makes the urban environment a more interesting place. I'd like to think that most things I paste beautify the city, and perhaps to that end, I've never had anyone try and stop me or get upset. Most encounters have been complimentary or curious, though generally ignored. I usually paste around 10pm in normal clothes, and without spray paint, people don't seem to consider it vandalism.
It's such a thrill to see something you've pasted still up months later, and to know that countless people must've seen it. Pasting is a fun, cheap and easy way to interact with your environment. Here are some tips:
-Paste is very easy to make, and essentially free. I use this recipe, but play around. I sift the flour first, and add a bit of cornflour for added stickiness.
-Use a paint brush to apply the paste. T'nealle came up with this incredible idea to keep things tidy - cut the corner of a zip-lock bag and tape the brush in.
-You can put the paste in a tight closing container, or a drink bottle with a sipper lid. Apply the paste to the surface, and place the picture, smoothing as you go (no one likes air bubbles). Put another layer of paste on top, and smooth around the edges.
-Lately I've been taking a damp cloth in a plastic cup. You can clean your hands, and also wipe away any excess paste surrounding the picture (which can look messy on glass/metal/plastic).
-Use your discretion. I tend to paste on to things like bins, street lights, seats, and tend to avoid personal and business property, though chain stores are probably a more valid target than the local dairy.
Get creative - you can paste anything on to anything! I don't think I'm a very good artist, but practice makes perfect. Or you can find cool pictures online, make stencils, write messages. There's plenty to keep you occupied. Be warned though: it's pretty addictive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New layout

I've changed the layout on this blog for the first time (have a look, Reader readers!).
Beth took the photos, which were mostly taken on a trip to the Botanic Gardens. She used a technique called redscale, which is quite clever, and gives the pictures a really nice look.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Day That Was - December 14th, 2010

Alright. It's back, and necessarily so I feel. It seems like I've not been up to much, or had as much direction as I'd like, so I'm going to chronicle a few days, get motivated, and see what happens.
I woke up at 8am, and had to really force myself out of bed. Normally I doze 'til 9 or 10, and feel lazy, so was up and about at 8:15: 6/10. I had two pieces of toast (peanut butter, and marmite), and a cup of tea for breakfast. I kind of straightened up the lounge in light of a possible early morning flat inspection, but it didn't eventuate: 8/10. I checked the internet: 8/10, and got on to a few things I'd been meaning to -  pitching some music story ideas to Radio New Zealand, and burning a CD of sets from the RounDUp band final for Bill from Human Pleasure. I started figuring out my top 10 songs, gigs and albums of 2010 (the last two are easy, struggling with the first: 6/10). I had a second cup of tea, re-using the teabag (it's a different, less bitter flavour), and got ready to head in to town.
My outfit for today - black canvas shoes, cut-off jean shorts, black polo-shirt: 9/10. I wheeled my bike to Cycle Trading for a repair (broken spoke: 2/10). Really nice service: 8/10. I walked in to the Square to meet Gina for lunch, and both places we went to weren't open yet (why was I up so early?!) ...but Krishna Cafe opened after a short wait. I had the vege burger: 10/10 (my god, sooooo good!), and we shared an apricot muffin. Gina went to get some things to make christmas cards, and I found some cheap A4 stickers: 8/10. I walked home and made a mixtape (sounding 9/10), and made the cover. My feet were tired from walking, and I made some rice and got ready for work. I typewrote some messages on some stickers (positive stuff/Seth Frightening lyrics: 8/10) and walked through town. I bought a ready to eat curry from the Indian Supermarket which was tasty, and work was slow, but I read Cabinet: 10/10 (man I love Cabinet).
The walk home was nice, and I stuck the stickers around. It was warm, and a few street workers chatted to me. Rose was over, and her and the rest of the flat and I stayed up talking for a while.
A nice day, and I felt really motivated to get things done.


I went out pasting for the first time in a while (well, maybe two weeks). I'd been a bit bummed out at failed attempts, and windy evenings, and really needed to get out and get some stuff done. It feels like I need to do something grand and definitive, I'm just not sure what that something might be yet. I've nearly finished a large project, which I'm quite excited about, but tonight I stuck up a bunch of leftover cupcakes (I'd made ~40).
It was such a warm evening, and felt so peaceful. I made some paste and biked in to town. There were plenty of amazing night smells, and people were walking about. Some tourists were pointed in the right direction, which made me smile. Simon was cycling to work, and I bumped in to him in Victoria Square.
Down Cashel Mall, some people came and talked to me. They were really friendly, and we did a bit of pasting together. It's really great meeting people under such nice circumstances.
I felt in a pretty good mood about things.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Hannah and I went to the Christmas Parade in town today. It was overcast but warm. I'd been looking forward to attending; I'd not been to the Chch parade before. And I had a really great time. I couldn't stop smiling, for so many reasons. It was great seeing lots of kids happy, and most of the floats were really colourful (especially the groups from various Asian countries). I was really pleased to see a group advocating buying less, and spending more time with those you love. Conversely, floats for corporate fast food chains, radio stations and car yards can fuck right off.
I often feel pretty negative about the latter, and end up fantasising about illegally damaging property, or making grand vitriolic statements. But really, I'm not sure what that would accomplish. I think it's a lot better to try and take a positive, alternative route of action. Don't support those you despise in any way. Shop locally and communicate with your friends. Act in a way that inspires others - they're usually more receptive to a flower than a stick.
I hope you'll be having a nice christmas. I'll be in Christchurch, with friends. If you'd like a christmas card, let me know your address - superchai@gmail.com

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